Title: A Simple Intimacy

Author: always_a_queen / Small-Wonders

Rating: PG / K+

Fandom: Once Upon A Time

Pairing: Snowing (Snow/Charming), James/Mary Margaret

Summary: "Charming," Snow's voice is a low growl. "Pay attention." He grins, attempting to put on his most charismatic expression. "I'm trying. You're distracting." / In which a princess-turned-outlaw teaches a shepherd-turned-prince how to dance. One-shot.

Author's Note the First: I kinda totally swiped a line from an episode of The Vampire Diaries (episode 1x19, to be exact), because it was perfect and I couldn't resist.

Author's Note the Second: For the prompt "Dance" at "onceuponaprompt" on LJ.

A Simple Intimacy

He doesn't know how to dance.

Which should be surprising, given how he is the Prince and all, but somehow his fiancée completely understands. Snow White merely gives him a quick once-over look and then grabs his hand and drags him to the nearest ballroom. He's not sure when the musicians appear, but as if on her cue, the room is suddenly filled with sweet, flowing waltz music.

Her willingness to simply fix the problem instead of mock him for it (oh, he'll get the mocking later, of that he is sure) makes him breathe a sigh of relief. Part of her compliant attitude might stem from the fact that she knows about the whole I'm-the-twin-brother-of-the-real-(dead)-prince, but even if that is the case, she doesn't bring his situation up.

Thank goodness, because James just doesn't feel like having another discussion about that portion of the mess-that-is-his-life again...not in the middle of their impromptu dance lesson. It's a bit of a volatile topic right now - like the fact that his guards still haven't managed to find and located his future mother-in-law.

Besides, he would very much like for those spikes Snow calls the heels of her shoes to not impale his feet. Right now, dancing feels more dangerous than swordplay.

(And there's something just wrong about that.)

Granted, he's very fortunate in the fact that his future wife is able to school him in both dancing and fencing.

(And there's something very right about that.)

Her hair is a beautiful mess of curls and pearls. Her dress is the prettiest shade of dark green.

(Abigail wore nothing but pastel shades. James hates pastel - unless Snow's wearing it. Something about that is...inconsistent.)

The neckline is v-shaped and dips generously low, especially when she curtsies, which for this dance is often. He misses his cue to bow for the second time in a row

"Charming," Snow's voice is a low growl. "Pay attention."

He grins, attempting to put on his most charismatic expression. "I'm trying. You're distracting."

He's not sure if the wicked expression that crosses her face is a good thing or not.

"After I curtsy and you bow, we circle. Right hand to right hand, going clockwise, and then we switch to the left hand and go counterclockwise, and then both hands clockwise."

He gives her a look.

"It's very easy," Snow assures him, even though he thinks it must be anything but. "If you master this one, you can master all of them. I've been doing this since I was a little girl."

James tries to imagine a nine-year-old Snow terrorizing her dance instructors. It's a little frightening.

The music starts over (again), and Snow curtsies.


James swallows, but he remembers to bow.

They circle each other, right hand to right hand.

"No touching," she says when they switch hands and his fingers accidentally brush hers. "This dance is about the simple intimacy of a near touch."

Somehow, she doesn't even sound condescending while she says it, just very matter-of-fact.

He furrows his brow. "So I can't touch you at all?"

Snow shakes her head. "Not yet. The first part of this dance is a slow burn. It doesn't need passion; it doesn't need grand sweeping gestures, just simple intimacy. You don't realize how much you want something until it's out of your reach."

The spin again, both hands this time then step back.

"Now," Snow says as they move forwards, towards each other. Gently, she moves one of his hands to her waist and takes his other hand in hers. "Good."

There's still a distance between them, and James pulls her body flush against his.

She blushes and her eyelids flutter. He grins, struck by the sudden memory of her coming back to life after his kiss.

She stomps on his foot and twists her way out of his arms. James winces. He has no doubt the former action was on purpose.

"Again," she says, waving at the musicians. They smile at her - considering the fact that they've been giving him strange looks for the past twenty minutes, James thinks that's quite unfair - and start the music over again.

She curtsies, he bows, and they begin.

They spin slowly, only a tiny slice of air keeping their hands from touching.

Everything feels heightened and electric, and James thinks he understands what Snow was talking about when she called the dance a slow burn.

There is another twist and spin, and soon James isn't thinking about the steps. He's thinking about how beautiful she is, how her eyes sparkle and shine, how her lips twist into the prettiest smile that lights up every part of her face, how her dress swishes around her heels.

It's hard to believe that this woman who once stole his mother's ring and saved his life, this woman he caught in a net, this woman who calls him charming when she thinks he's being anything but, is the same one twirling around in a lavish gown. She dances with elegance and poise, every movement fluid and graceful.

And then, when she finally steps into his arms, all he can think about is how right she feels there. Neither of them notice when the musicians leave, because by that time, his lips are on hers and his fingers are tracing the contours of her neck. Her thin arms wrap snugly around his chest as she presses her body firmly against him and...

Their kiss breaks for just a moment.

"Thank you for the dance, Charming," she whispers.

"You're very welcome," he replies as she kisses him again.

Damn, he cannot wait until he's married.

"Dance with me?" his wife says. "You used to dance with me all the time."

Did he? David doesn't remember.

It's date night, or at least, it's what Kathryn tells him is date night. They're at the one nice restaurant in town. The one that requires a suit jacket. The one with the complicated menu. David thinks he remembers what he likes, (Jello, Cheetos, carrots, ice cream, peanut butter), but it ends up not mattering because Kathryn orders for him.

He doesn't remember if he likes what she requests, but he sits there like an idiot and lets her do it anyway. Because he's trying, damn it.

He remembers a freakin' windmill, but nothing else. It's a little pathetic.

And yet, he still stands up and offers her his hand.

Her dress is a soft, pastel blue, and David hates it.

But he loves her, right? So he shouldn't care. Besides, the style of dress looks good on her. She's really a very beautiful woman.


She's an attractive woman.

She smiles at him, leans closer, and rests her head against his shoulder. She's so clingy; David feels strange. Her arms loop around his neck and her body presses firmly against his.

David awkwardly sets his hands on her waist.

They stand there and...sway.

If he knew how to dance once, that skill is apparently gone with his memories.


Kathryn immediately pulls away from David and smiles at someone behind him. "Dr. Whale! How good to see you."

David turns around to see the doctor and Mary Margaret. They're together, that much is obvious, but they're not holding hands. She looks...rather uncomfortable. He doesn't know if that is because of Dr. Whale or the present situation.

The doctor smiles at David; they shake hands.

"May I cut in for a moment?" Dr. Whale asks him. "I'd like a moment to talk to Kathryn."

"Of course you can," Kathryn answers before David can speak. "Can't he?"

David just nods. The two step aside.

Mary Margaret gives him a smile that looks more like a grimace.

God, he hates that he let himself burn that bridge.

At least she seemed to like him. Kathryn just sort of...tolerates him. She tries too hard. David doesn't like that...pushiness about her.

"Would you...uh, like to dance?"

Her cheeks flush pink. "Are you sure that..." She peers past him.

He glances over his shoulder at his wife and his doctor dancing like they're old friends, then back to Mary Margaret. "It'll be fine."

He'll deal with the fallout. If Kathryn can leave him to dance with somebody else, well. It's her fault he looks like an idiot, standing in the center of the small dance floor, hands stuffed in his pockets, while Mary Margaret stands there in a gorgeous green number that somehow manages to be both sensuous and adorable.

He opens his arms and shrugs. She steps towards him, keeping a good amount of distance between them, and slides her hand into his outstretched one. Her other hand lands on his shoulder.

Her purse, he notices, is a tiny little white thing with a small cord that loops around her wrist.

He's sure that the entire eastern seaboard could fit inside the suitcase Kathryn calls a purse.

Damn. He's got to stop comparing them if he even wants a chance at a normal life.

"You're good at this," Mary Margaret says, and suddenly he realizes that he's leading them around the floor, like he's a suave Austen hero and she's his heroine. So. Evidently he did know how to dance, before the amnesia set in. Interesting.

He gives her a grin. "I guess...I guess I must have had a good teacher."

She shrugs. "I guess so."

He wonders how dancing with her can feel like so much more than dancing with Kathryn. It's like...coming home. Like finding something lost.

It feels right.

Except he remembered that damn windmill.

She avoids his gaze, but he can't stop looking at her. Her earrings are snowflakes; he notices. Her dark hair complements her pale, smooth skin. Skin like snow, he thinks, and lips like rubies, with hair as black as coal...

And just when did he decide to become so...so...Brothers Grimm?

David wishes Mary Margaret would smile. Her smile is...like sunshine or a rainbow, or something sappy and poetic like that.

She finally looks at him. Her eyes are beautiful too.

"I think sometimes you don't realize how much you want something until it's out of your reach." The words come out before he has a chance to fully think about them.

Mary Margaret suddenly stops moving.

"I...I-we...can't do this, David."

He ducks his head, because she's right. She steps out of his arms. When he opens his mouth to say something, she holds up her hand. It hovers above his chest. She doesn't touch him, but his heart speeds up anyway at the intimacy of the near-touch.

"Sometimes you just don't get the luxury of a second chance," she says.

Kathryn comes up behind him and slides her arms around his shoulders. She presses a kiss to the side of his neck.

"Did you two have a nice...conversation?"

David nods. Mary Margaret grimaces again and slips her arm through the doctor's.

"We should let them get to their table," Kathryn says, and he hears what she doesn't say. Stop flirting with Storybrooke's teacher like you're not a married man.

"Of course," he says. "Thank you for the dance, Ms. Blanchard." He's not sure exactly why, but he finds himself fighting the urge to bow.

"You're welcome."

She curtseys.